Louisa and the 8x9

Louisa woodsJerry introduced Ted to Tina, another member of the Arlington crowd. The three and Jerry's girlfriend, Cindy Bookout, periodically camped out on 15 acres Jerry's mother owned near Louisa, a rural Virginia community with no particular claim to fame at the time, except that it was more back-to-nature than Arlington was.

The couples started out in two tents, side-by-side, then Jerry dug a pit, intending an earth-sheltered lodging. This being Virginia, the pit quickly filled with water. He built a platform over the pit and a roof over the platform (no walls). This being Virginia, insects ate all the stiffness out of the new structure. Everybody went back to Arlington for a while, but shortly Jerry returned to Louisa alone.

The 8x9Jerry, always broke but practical, moved into an 8'x9' shed that was the only permanent structure on the property. The shed, which they called the 8x9, sat on a hillside. If it had ever been level, it wasn't anymore.

The 8x9 sloped so much that sleep was a game of hanging on all night to keep from being wedged against the downhill wall. Jerry built a platform to level the sleeping field, using what was left of his platform over the pit.

Jerry claimed he was so broke and hungry during this time that he ate the termites still living in the pit platform scraps. I dunno. Ted says Jerry earned cash riding his bike along the Louisa roadways and picking up bottles and cans. That I believe.

The 8x9 remodeledTed returned to Louisa and set about helping Jerry fix up the 8x9. The two of them carved a hole in one wall and installed a window made from a glass television screen they found at the dump. They leveled up the shed and put a little heat stove in one corner.

Jerry had a rooster, Mr. Peepers, a mean old sonofabitch who guarded the door to the outhouse and attacked anybody who approached it or who was caught with his pants down inside, which was inconvenient and injurious. Ted got fed up with it and gave him a hard boot, which put a permanent stop to Mr. Peepers.